REED CITY — Area residents lined the street from the Reed City Depot to the Osceola County Courthouse Monday to celebrate the memory of soldiers who gave their all in defense of the American way.

Members of the Reed City VFW and Knights of Columbus were joined by state Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, the Reed City High School Band and more during the annual Reed City 2016 Memorial Day Parade.

Pack mom Lindsey Eccles is proud to see the members of Reed City Cub Scout Pack No. 174 among the parade.

“It makes me proud of our children to see them being a part of the community and remembering fallen soldiers,” she said. “Their sacrifice is the reason we live in the America we live in today, it’s important to celebrate that and remember how we got here.”

After a brief ceremony – including a three-volley salute – at the courthouse, the parade proceeded to Woodland Cemetery, where the RCHS band performed a collection of patriotic songs. After the band performed, the Rev. Michael Hodges delivered a solemn speech before leading the assembled crowd in prayer.

Hodges discussed the importance of honoring soldiers, ordinary people who sometimes fought to end tyranny and sometimes fought without a clear goal in mind.

“Regardless of the conflict, there is suffering. There is death,” he said. “All soldiers die in war. Some physically, like the ones we remember today who may have come home to be buried or may have been buried in the far-off fields where they fell. Some of them may never be found again.

“Those are the soldiers we remember today, but there are soldiers who die spiritually, emotionally. As any veteran will tell you, they are not the same person that left before the war. They’re no longer the young man leaving high school or the kid at the gas station. They’ve seen things we cannot even begin to imagine, and one cannot help but be changed by that.”

The Memorial Day parade and ceremony went well, according to Chastity Eads, Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce director.

“This is a beautiful testament to our community,” she said. “We had a great turnout to support those people who have served our country. It tugs at your heart knowing that all of these people came out to honor our soldiers.”

Following the ceremony, members of Reed City VFW Post No. 2964 met to enjoy a Memorial Day luncheon. Larry Adams, commander of the Reed City post, said a lot of work goes into making events like the parade and ceremony at the cemetery happen.

“Today is for the guys who didn’t make it from all of the wars. We’re carrying on an old tradition to honor those who made the supreme sacrifice. A lot of the guys here gave a lot, but Memorial Day is for the fallen,” he said. “Sometimes people forget what the holiday is about. They’re out at their barbeques and on their boats and they just forget to come down and join the parade.”